Working from home makes you weird. And, if you're already weird, working from home makes you weirder. It's one of the downsides of a pretty good gig.
After 3 years of full-time self-employment, the isolation has had a noticeable effect. I've got, like, bad at interacting with people. I'm not bloody Gollum, but I'm rusty and I worry that I'm boring for people to put up with.
'I've got no pals' is a half-joke I have with Alex whenever she's busy and I can't face going to something alone. It's not true, but when you've only spoken to two people all month (my wife and the postman), it can be easy to forget that other folk might actually wanna hang out.
Anyway, that's a long way of getting to my birthday, which recently happened. It was a good birthday.
First up, I thought I was turning 33 when I was really turning 32. So even though I technically did get older, in reality, I didn't. I beat the system.
Second, I got a treasure hunt. An hour-long treasure hunt for presents on my 33rd* birthday. When did you last do a treasure hunt on your birthday? You were probably 8. My wife is better than yours.
Alex's plan was elaborate. Clues led into cupboards and under floorboards. Sometimes I'd find a present, sometimes another clue and sometimes a little challenge. I smashed a piñata, I lucky dipped, I broke eggs, I exhibited at the GOMA.
Best of all, Alex asked a bunch of my friends and family to improvise video clues that played at points along the way. This caught me by surprise (see the aforementioned 'I've got no pals' bit).
I'm not going to share the clips here, but I'd like to thank everyone who made one. I'm really touched. Cheers: Mum & Dad, Jen & Alan, Hilary, Johnny Lynch, Stuart, Concetta & Shawn, Frank & Nicky, Kim & Del, Rory. They meant a lot.
Special mentions to Mark, who got the biggest laugh with 3(!) videos of impressions of Alex and me; Jonnie, who sang a song. Fergi; who did his in the bath (props on the strategic camerawork, Katie); Lynne, who got Bruno involved; and Fiona & Ian for their mini-epic, The Godfather-In-Law, recorded in Sicily.
So, aye, thanks to my pals for being my pals. Thanks for the presents. Thanks if you sent a card, a message or a tweet. Sorry I'm a bit rubbish these days.
Cheers Alex x